No ANC reshuffle in Nelson Mandela Bay yet

MAY 5, 2015

The African National Congress (ANC) says there will not be a reshuffling of Nelson Mandela Bay political deployments yet. There had been speculation that President Jacob Zuma, who arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday with his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and other ANC bigwigs, was in the troubled Metro to axe the 83-year-old Mayor, Benson Fihla.

ANC National spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said Zuma had travelled to Nelson Mandela Bay to review the work of a 31-person task team that had been established to rebuild ANC structures in the region following the disbanding of the Regional Executive Committee last December.

Led by veteran ANC MP and former Defence Minister, Charles Nqakula, the regional task team includes former MECs Thobile Mhlahlo and Dennis Neer, former Deputy Mayor, Bicks Ndoni, and former Eastern Cape Health boss and Uitenhage businessman, Dr Siva Pillay.

"Zuma and the other members have met with the various structures throughout the day yesterday [Sunday] and are very happy with the progress that has been made by the task team," Kodwa said.

Zuma and his delegation also attended a number of meetings on Monday relating to a report on the state of the municipality from Cooperative Governance Minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Kodwa said the report's findings, as well as the details from the last two days visit, would be reported back to the ANC's National Executive Committee.

"The NEC will take this feedback under advisement and will then return to the municipality on the 17th of May," he said.

Kodwa said the NEC would then announce any possible changes to political as well as administrative positions within the municipal structures on May 18.

"No decision can be taken with regards to any changes until it has been discussed with the NEC," he said.

The ANC-led Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has battled with political instability and factional infighting - two incumbent Mayors have already been axed in the past six years. In 2009, Nondumiso Maphazi was fired as Mandela Bay mayor and replaced by Zanoxolo Wayile, who in turn was fired in 2013 and replaced by Fihla.

The ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay faces a revived opposition in the 2016 Local Government Elections from the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has not hidden its intentions to take over the Metro as a first step to taking over governance in the Eastern Cape. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also said it will consider alliances with other parties to unsit the ANC in the Bay while expelled NUMSA (a fomer tripartite alliance memeber) is expected to organise its members in the PE auto-industry to vote for a United Front - against the ANC.